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Published: March 10th 2009
The Cameron Highlands
Don’t say you’ve seen the sunset! Monday 9th March2009
The five hour coach journey from Kuala Lumpur to Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands took us through some stunning countryside. Unfortunately, unlike the coaches from Singapore to Melaka and Melaka to KL, this one was a 1960s bone shaking relic with windows so dirty that photos of the waterfalls and mountains we passed were impossible to take.
The hostel that we had pre-booked was a flophouse, and it was sweltering hot when we arrived (as we expected) not “cold” as the Indian proprietor had claimed on the phone; his excuse for not providing room fans in the tropics! No loo paper in the loos here and at the reception desk they sold me a loo roll for 70 sen. That’s a first; plenty of young backpackers here getting ripped off! Just don’t say you’ve seen the sunset!
We stayed one night instead of the intended three and have found a nice hotel along the road with en suite, balcony and a good restaurant, for the same price (and loo rolls are included). It is a local holiday today so easier to get a room;
Check this out...
...for political correctness!
the weekend was pretty booked up. Also, there were some rooms we were not allowed to have; check out our photo of the hotel sign for Muslims only!
Tanah Rata is an unusual place. It looks a bit like a French purpose built ski resort stuck on a hillside in the tropics, with covered walkways to protect against rain rather than snow. The restaurants are pretty Spartan, with white plastic chairs that work OK in French ski resorts at the side of the piste, as well as on the sand by Mediterranean beach bars, but fail dismally in the damp misty highlands of Malaysia. Apart from the young backpackers (mostly eastern European) the town is full of thirty-something home county yuppies, with toddlers in tow, quite weird for us, having met so very few English on our travels…”You simply must try the strawberries, Thomas, you can’t come to the Cameron Highlands and not eat strawberries!” One really does wonder why two year old Thomas has been brought half way around the bloody world to see tea plantations and eat strawberries. He spat the strawberry out.
Although hot and sunny yesterday, today was a day of unceasing torrential rain,
The BOH tea plantation
This is the Highland tea, the Lowland plantation is near KL
so we didn’t do much. Tomorrow we are going to a tea plantation owned by “BOH” Malaysia’s largest and oldest tea company, (owned by a Scotsman).
Tea and strawberries Tuesday 10th March 2009
We had a really good day today (and sunshine). The Cameron Highlands, most famous for tea and strawberries are very picturesque. There isn’t a strawberry season here, it is year round continual harvest and the strawberries are delicious! Another unusual crop is yellow edible lilies (the only lilies that are edible). The flowers only last a few days so must be picked as soon as they bloom. They are used to flavour meat dishes. On the way to the tea plantation we stopped at a butterfly farm which also has snakes, spiders and huge insects, like the 3 horned Rhino Beetle in the photo. We also went to a strawberry farm and ate strawberries.
The tea plantation was most the most interesting and we spent quite a while there. We also visited the factory to see the tea processed from green leaf to brown. “BOH” is the largest tea producer in Malaysia. 80% of the tea is for the Malaysian market and 20% is
These are 80 years old
exported to Singapore and Brunei. We bought a few small canisters to take home.
Our sightseeing day ended with a visit to a Chinese Buddhist temple in Brinchang. The Sam Poh Temple is known as the temple of ten thousand Buddhas because the walls are lined with ceramic Buddha tiles, each representing a donator who gave money to build the temple. A good day out and thanks to good weather we were able to appreciate the scenery. Tomorrow we are getting the early bus to Penang, a six hour journey taking us from Pahang district, where we are now, through Perak and on in to Kedah.
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